Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Slipping poll numbers

It’s more bad news for President Barack Obama with the release of our latest Reuters/Ipsos national poll today. The headline number is that, for the first time since he took office, more Americans now disapprove of his performance than approve. After a long period where his approval rating was stable at just over 50 percent, the last three months have seen a steady deterioration, matching the economy’s faltering performance.
obama_poll
Just like Ronald Reagan in 1982, Obama’s mid-term poll ratings are suffering from the economy’s woes. Faith in Obama’s ability to tackle the crisis was a key factor that swung the presidential race his way in 2008, but his performance on the economy is fast becoming his Achilles heel in the face of a concerted Republican assault. As Ipsos pollster Cliff Young told us, many voters had long been giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, but now patience has “basically vanished.”

Last month’s Reuters/Ipsos poll found Obama’s approval rating for his economic leadership was lower — and was deteriorating faster — than on any other issue.  This month’s poll gives some more clues as to why this is the case. Unemployment and government spending topped voters’ economic concerns, with 72 percent and 67 percent of respondents saying they were very worried over those issues respectively.

Republicans have been trying to convince voters that last year’s deficit-financed economic stimulus was not effective in reducing unemployment and ending the recession, and this argument may be striking home.

Nor are voters that keen on the administration’s plans to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the highest earners. Some 49 percent said they would prefer tax rates to be maintained for everyone, while 46 percent said they favored letting the tax cuts expire for some or all Americans. Not surprisingly, it seems like Americans want the deficit tackled through lower spending rather than through higher taxes.

There is also a widespread feeling Washington no longer works. Although Republicans get more of the blame for this, that feeling would be dangerous for the Democrats if they are perceived by voters as the party of big spending and big government.

Reuters/Ipsos poll: Obama approval hits new low, but Republicans catch blame too

President Barack Obama’s approval rating sank to a new low of 45 percent, while his disapproval rating rose to 52 percent, according to a Reuters-Ipsos  poll. It was the first time more Americans disapproved than approved of Obama in an Ipsos poll since he became president.

But Republicans had little to crow about because they were blamed more than Democrats for Washington being broken, according to the August national poll. OBAMA/

Among registered voters the readings were about even when looking ahead to the November midterm elections, with 46 percent  likely to vote for Republican candidates and 45 percent for Democrats.

Washington Extra – homing in on the American dream

Sounds like people had plenty to say about the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a Treasury forum today. For example, Bill Gross of PIMCO, who oversees more than $1 trillion in assets, called for a massive program to refinance mortgages at low rates as a way to lift the economy – a more sweeping recommendation than Treasury organizers had anticipated. “It is not tenable to leave in place the system we have today,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner acknowledged, but said the government must still have some role. USA-HOUSING/

The bailed-out mortgage giants have received nearly $150 billion in taxpayer funds since they were placed in government conservatorship, and are likely to need tens of billions of dollars more to survive.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll on the Kentucky Senate race shows Republican Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, with a narrow 5 point lead over Democrat Jack Conway among likely voters. The poll also probed voter views on the controversy about Paul’s alleged college pranks, and found that 53 percent of Kentucky voters had not heard anything about it. Among Republicans, 12 percent said the stories made them more likely to vote for Paul.

Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Republican Rand Paul leading in Kentucky Senate race

Republican Rand Paul, a Tea Party favored candidate, is leading his Democratic opponent Jack Conway by 5 points among likely voters,  45 percent to 40 percent, in the Kentucky race for a U.S. Senate seat, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said. USA-POLITICS/

Many voters in Kentucky, 53 percent, were unaware of the recent reports about Paul’s involvement in apparent pranks while he was a student. A GQ headlined “Rand Paul’s Kooky College Days” article described escapades including trying to force a woman to bow at a creek to a god called “Aqua Buddha” and smoke marijuana.

A small number of Republicans, 12 percent, said those stories made them MORE likely to vote for the son of two-time Republican presidential contender Ron Paul.

Republicans Portman, Kasich lead in Ohio races

Republicans Rob Portman, a former White House budget director, and John Kasich, a former House member, so far are leading in their races for new jobs in economically hard-hit and politically important Ohio.

That’s according to our new Reuters-Ipsos poll. OBAMA/

Portman leads Democrat Lee Fisher in the U.S. Senate race by 43 percent to 36 percent in the poll of likely voters, with less than three months to go until the Nov. 2 congressional elections.

Kasich has a 48 percent to 39 percent lead over incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in the Ohio governor’s race.

Washington Extra

In the name of equal opportunities, after featuring Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Monday, today’s newsletter leads on his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid.
reid
Reid, our Reuters-IPSOS poll reveals, has two big problems as he aims for re-election in recession-hit Nevada in November. The first is the economy, the overriding concern of three out of every four registered voters – a proportion way higher than the national average.

The second is the enthusiasm gap, a problem for Democrats all over the country, with Reid’s supporters significantly less likely to vote than the Republican rank and file. Reid is comfortably ahead of Tea Party darling Sharron Angle among registered voters, by 52 to 36 percent. Among people who said they were likely to vote, the gap narrowed sharply, with Reid leading by just 48 to 44 percent.

One of the Democrats biggest problems has been convincing voters that the economic stimulus enacted last year actually helped. Ratcheting up the war of words, Republican leaders Tom Coburn and John McCain sent out a list of 100 spending projects they said were “stupid and inappropriate.”

Reuters/Ipsos poll – Reid leads Republican rival in Nevada Senate race

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, one of America’s most powerful politicians, holds a narrow edge among likely voters in his re-election bid in recession-lashed Nevada, a Reuters-Ipsos poll said Tuesday.USA/

The struggling U.S. economy is paramount in voters’ minds as they look ahead to the Nov. 2 election in Nevada, with 74 percent citing the economy as their top concern, the poll of 600 Nevada voters done July 30-Aug. 1 found.

And Nevada’s high jobless rate of 14.2 percent and rising home foreclosures and bankruptcies appear to be taking their toll on Reid in his attempt for a fifth six-year term. Seventy-one percent of registered voters said the state is on the wrong track.

Washington Extra – Economy hits Obama’s poll numbers

It’s still “the economy, stupid.”

Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign slogan, famously pinned up on the wall of their Little Rock headquarters by James Carville, never seemed more appropriate than it does today.

Our first Reuters/IPSOS national poll dramatically illustrates how the parlous state of the economy is undermining confidence in President Barack Obama and his Democratic colleagues ahead of November’s mid-term elections. OBAMA/

Americans clearly identified the economy and jobs as the main problems facing the country today. Even more overwhelmingly, they said that Obama was not focusing on the issue enough.

Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Obama approval at 48 pct, disapproval at 48 pct

Americans are evenly split over whether President Barack Obama is doing a good job or a bad job — and few are on the fence.

A Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll found that Obama’s approval and disapproval ratings are each at 48 percent.

In the July 22-25 poll of 1,075 adults, Obama’s approval rating is in line with other polls that show his popularity below 50 percent.